TV streaming devices that turns your TV smart are the need of the hour. It gives you the freedom of choosing media content that are available in plenty. There are various options available – In smart TV’s we have android TV’s (from US$ 300 in US / ₹ 30,000 in India) that can literally support all media apps that are available in Play Store, we have Apple TV (from US$ 150) and Fire TV (from US$ 70) in some of the countries, we have streaming devices such as Roku, Google Chromecast and Amazon Firestick. For the cost involved and the requirement Firestick / Chromecast would be a better option.
When it comes to streaming devices what matters most are the three C’s – Content, Compatibility and Cost.
Six months ago, I purchased one – Amazon Firestick. Was wondering to explore how different it is from the leader Google Chromecast and to understand whether I made the right choice in not choosing the leader in the market.
Amazon Firestick is in the form of USB drive that can be plugged directly into TV’s HDMI port. The Firestick has a USB charging point and must be connected to power. The package comes with the micro USB power cord and a HDMI cable to use when the Firestick can’t be plugged in directly into the TV.
On the other hand, the circular Chromecast has a stylish design and can be connected to the TV using the HDMI cable.
Content & Compatibility
Voice Search (Alexa) – The one I got was the second-generation Firestick and it has voice enabled search that can understand native English. It works perfectly fine, however the voice search is currently limited to Amazon Prime and YouTube.
Chromecast does not have voice support.
OS & Interface – Firestick runs on a customised version of android and the interface is easy and friendly. The interface has an elegant home screen that displays recent apps, downloaded apps and recommended movies, apps & games. Home screen has multiple tabs – Movies, TV shows and apps.
However, Chromecast is only a hub that bridges phone and TV. It can support you stream from a supported device and can’t stream on its own. May be with Google Home, Mini and Max it becomes easier as you can just ask your assistant to play it on your TV through Chromecast.
Apps – Amazon Firestick has its own app store and has plenty of options to download. You can download video streaming apps such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Ditto, TED etc. and audio streaming apps such as gaana, Raaga etc. There are plenty of television channels available – Sony channels, Sun Network, Times Now, NDTV, Bloomberg, BBC. Not just that, you can play games such as Hangman, Solitaire, Flappy birds etc. It also as an 8GB internal storage to store these apps and games.
Google’s version is not a standalone device and must be instructed from another device that supports casting.
Screen Mirroring – You can mirror your screen to firestick from supported android devices and can also cast to the Firestick from your laptop. Sometime, I did find that there is a lag in casting media content from laptop, due to which there will be a delay in audio and would not sync with the video. It all depends on the strength of wireless network.
Chromecast 2 is priced at ₹3,400 (in US – $35) whereas Firestick is priced at ₹4,000 (in US – $40). Both the streaming devices will generally be available at a discount of ₹500 from the listed price.
Due to the wide range of options for movies, TV shows and even news updates, we are slowly moving from TV supported by DTH to Streaming devices. It’s a big leap and is the future of television. No doubt about it.
Coming to Firestick or Chromecast, Firestick is more than a device that just mirrors what you want. Firestick would be a better option considering the three C’s – More content, good compatibility and at an affordable cost.